Retired bank manager, Jeff Tremain, is Marden Bowls Club's greeenkeeper, and he takes his responsibilities very seriously. His efforts were recognised when Kent County Bowling Association chose the Club to host the County finals, owing to its good playing surface. Since then, Jeff has continued to strive for excellence. Having seen a demonstration of a Dennis S500 seed slotter, he persuaded his Committee to purchase the machine to assist him with autumn renovation work.
After extensive end-of-season scarification of the green, the Dennis S500 was brought into action. Due to its efficiency, within 90 minutes the surface had been prepared for vital overseeding, and 30kg of a top quality grass seed mixture was applied.
"The S500 is just perfect," says Jeff Tremain. "It allows the seed to drop precisely into a slot about 1in (25mm) deep, which is the optimum depth for germination of the important fescue species." Assisted by a team of five helpers, 5 tonnes of top-dressing was added in the afternoon following treatment, and this, together with any loose seeds remaining on the surface, was worked into the green using a gentle dragmat.
"New seedlings were emerging within only 12 days of application. It's quite the best germination I've ever seen here at Marden," says Jeff, who is a member of the Institute of Groundsmanship.
The Dennis S500 is powered by a 3.5hp Briggs & Stratton engine and has a working width of 20in (500mm). An integral turntable enables 90 or 180 degree turning and this, together with detachable transport wheels, facilitates use right into the corners of a green without damaging turf.
"The green is now in excellent condition," says Jeff Tremain. "Growth is strong, with a much denser sward, and I've already cut the grass three times during the winter. Our club members can look forward to perfect conditions when the new playing season starts in April."
The S500 also comes with an interchangeable slitting head for aeration work. Its blades are welded to the centre shaft in a helix configuration to ensure even treatment. They create holes over an area equivalent to approximately 3% of the playing surface for maximum effect. Jeff is looking forward to trying the attachment during the coming season. The S500 was initially developed by a former professional groundsman, Dave Bracey. By coincidence, he was one of the people who gave Jeff advice when he first became interested in greenkeeping more than 15 years ago - well before the machine had entered production.
The Dennis S500 can be used on all fine turf surfaces, including golf greens, bowling greens, tennis courts and ornamental lawns.